Wallace Roeske1927 - 2014
Wallace was born on May 26, 1927
to Max and Evelina (Tulgetske) Roeske
in Moltke, Michigan, on the family farm.
The farm was settled in 1877 by
Johan and Alvine Roeske from Stettin, Germany,
and has remained in the same family to this day, earning the designation
of a Centennial farm, He was the first-born son, joining his older sister
Leona, Two more siblings, Ray and Elda, would follow,
Wallace attended the Beech Grove one room schoolhouse through the
eighth grade with his future wife and neighbor, Laura Brege. He showed
his scholastic talents by getting the highest score in the county wide 8th
grade exam, He then attended Rogers City High School where along with
studying, he played tuba in the band,
After graduating in 1945, he enlisted in the army and was stationed at
bases in Virginia, Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey. He served as a
translator for German prisoners of war at Ft. Sheridan. He also played
tuba in the army band. While in the army, he resumed a childhood
friendship with Laura after she sent him a care package of homemade
angel food cake – a sign of good cooking to come,
In 1947, he enrolled at Michigan State Normal College (Eastern Michigan)
on the GI bill to begin the next stage of his education. He also held a
variety of summer jobs during that time at the Packard and Dodge
assembly plants. Laura was working in Detroit at Kresge’s during this
time and their courtship continued to blossom.
Wallace returned to Moltke to marry Laura Brege, daughter of John and
Martha Brege, on June 18, 1949. They made their home in Ypsilanti
where Wallace resumed his studies at Eastern, graduating in 1951 with a
double major in math and chemistry, and a minor in physics, After
graduating, he worked at Dow Chemical in Midland in the cellulose
products division/research and development. While at Dow, he pursued
a teaching certificate at Central Michigan.
He began his teaching career in Northport, and moved on to Boyne City,
During the early years in Boyne City, he supplemented his teacher’s
salary by driving the milk home delivery truck in the summer, aided by
his 3 young but willing helpers (Charlene, Laurine, Eric). Their reward
was a cooling dip in Walloon Lake, floating on inner tubes. Wallace
earned his masters degree in chemistry at the University of Michigan in
1959. Wallace and Laura took advantage of various teaching and
educational opportunities that necessitated moving their growing family
to Ann Arbor, Kent, Ohio, and Alpena.
Returning to Rogers City in 1966 with 5 kids in tow, Wallace and Laura
settled into their home vowing that this was their last move. He taught
high school chemistry, physics, math and German at RCHS for the next
26 years, In addition to teaching classes, he was a class sponsor for
several different graduating classes, as well as the Jets and German clubs,
Other school activities included filming (yes, film!) the high school
football games for the team, and scorekeeping at basketball games. He
stayed active during summer “vacation” painting houses and the
occasional church steeple. His other occupation was working the family
farm, planting soybeans, rye, hay, and tending a growing fruit orchard.
It was many years before his children realized there was more to the 4th
of July than baling the first cutting of hay! In the summer when it was
too rainy for farming or painting, he cleaned and maintained the
audio/visual equipment at the schools, with the aforementioned
Wallace was active in Immanuel Lutheran Church of Moltke, sponsoring
the youth group, singing in the choir, and serving on church council.
He was a member of the German-American club, Farm Bureau, and the
German choir, the Choraleers, Wallace was the local weatherman for
many years, reporting the daily high/low temperatures in the Advance.
He was a life-long baseball fan, playing in the County league for Moltke
as a youth, and later as secretary and plate umpire for the league. And
of course he was a loyal Detroit Tigers fan.
Wallace retired from teaching in 1992, and with more free time (for
farming!) he and Laura travelled to Alaska, Oklahoma, New York and
Ohio to visit family and see the country.
Wallace will be remembered for his work ethic, his willingness to help
others, and his talent as an educator. Throughout his life, he continued
to share his knowledge of German, science, astronomy, farming, and
nature. He demonstrated over and over the value of hard work, whatever
the task or season, He continued in faith through the renewing of his
mind until the end of his life.
Friends may visit at the Beck Funeral Home on Tuesday from 4:00
until 8:00 p.m, with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will resume
on Wednesday at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Moltke from 10:00 a.m.
through time of funeral at 11:00 a.m. with Rev, Dr. Jack D. Ferguson
Military Honors will be offered by the Rogers City VFW Post 607
during graveside services at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery immediately
following the church service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Immanuel Lutheran Church
or Hospice of Michigan.